2022-2023 Seminars

African Ecology and Social Processes

One of the longest-standing Carolina Seminars currently running, the seminar in African Ecology and Social Processes engages pressing interdisciplinary questions that deepen scholarly knowledge and conversations about African Studies. We prioritize the following standards: expansive discussions that include input from scholars of all academic ranks and graduate students; visitors and guests who showcase scholarship emerging on the continent, and which advances Africa-based research; work that explodes myths about Africa as monolithic or as a recipient of knowledge and intervention — we promote conversations and scholarship that showcase the diversity of knowledge production on and about the continent, and which center continental activity as innovative, flexible, and creative.


Ada Umenwaliri,  African Studies Center

American Indian and Indigenous Studies

This seminar provides a forum for faculty, students, and visitors engaged in American Indian and Indigenous Studies to discuss critical issues, hear presentations, and read and critique one another’s work. These interdisciplinary collaborations often include but are not limited to individuals in the fields of American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Education, English, History, Law, Religious Studies, and Romance Studies.


Daniel Cobb, American Studies

Art and the Brain: Neurologic Disorders in Famous Artists


Aysenil Belger, Psychiatry; Psychology
Heidi Roth, Neurology
Natasha Parikh, Music; Psychology/Neuroscience
Inger Brodey, English & Comparative Literature
Christoph M. Brachmann, Art
Nancy Clayton, Psychiatry
FRANK Gallery

Arts Across Ages

 “Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we–from the local to the global.” 

Arts Across Ages seminars explore purposes, potentials, and pragmatics for connecting UNC students and older adults in arts experiences. Discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age is a global issue. Universities can bridge generational divides with intentional programming that benefits students, older adults, communities, and universities. Arts Across Ages addresses university-community separation and the unexamined potential of intergenerational arts-based experiences at UNC. 


Susan Coppola, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Kym Weed, English & Comparative Literature
Carolyn Allmendinger, Ackland Art Museum
Tamara Baker-Thomas, Psychiatry
Amanda Graham, Carolina Performing Arts,
Joy Kassan, American Studies (Emerita)
Allison Lathrop, Ackland Art Museum
Cherie Rosemond, UNC Partnership in Aging
Jane Thraikill, Literature

Care to Share NC: An Academic-Community Partner Network

The CTS is a Carolina Seminar that brings together faculty from UNC-CH and UNC Greensboro along with community partners to address issues that matter most to children, youth, families and the institutions that serve them.  CTS events are open to scholars and community members across the triangle and triad regardless of discipline and organizational affiliation. To learn more about Care-to-Share NC, contact us at ctsnc@unc.edu or visit our website to learn about upcoming events (https://tarheels.live/caretoshare).


Andrea Hussong, Psychology and Neuroscience

Carolina Climate Change Scientists

Understanding the impacts of climate change on natural and human systems requires interdisciplinary research approaches.  We are a group of 40 faculty and educators across 14 departments at UNC Chapel Hill that began meeting in 2011 to facilitate interdisciplinary climate change research. We meet monthly for brief research presentations and discussions.


Jason West, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
John Bruno, Biology

Carolina Network for Network and Data Science

This seminar will nucleate a collaborative community connecting application themes of network data, building capability, and expertly applying network data methods with tight collaboration between domains such as neuroscience, healthcare, ecosystems, education, economics, and transportation. It will also help train users for the network analysis tools developed by the group.


Jessica Cohen, Psychology and Neuroscience
Eran Dayan, Radiology
Shankar Bhamidi, Statistics and Operations Research

Carolina Seminar on Educational Inequality

The Carolina Seminar on Educational Inequality brings together scholars from Economics, Education, Policy, and Sociology to study the ways in which schools, families, or broader social forces are to blame for educational inequality and whether and under what conditions specific educational policies reduce, or increase, inequality.

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/edinequalityseminar/home


Thurston Domina, School of Education
Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, Economics
Steven Hemelt, Public Policy
Simona Goldin, Public Policy
Douglas Lauen, Public Policy

Carolina Seminar on Innovation for the Public Good

The Carolina Seminar on Innovation for the Public Good will play a catalytic role in amplifying the mission of Carolina by providing an educational pathway for our faculty and students to explore modern change-making and practice the skills necessary to contribute toward meaningful change in the world. Participants will explore evidence and promising based creative problem-solving approaches and early, team-oriented, customer/community discovery methods to develop solutions that address pressing human concerns.


Daniel Gitterman, Public Policy

Carolina Seminar on Middle East Studies

The seminar offers two forums for current research in Middle East Studies: 1) graduate students make presentations on their dissertation research, and 2) faculty members lead a discussion of reading on the state of the field from the perspective of their discipline.


Claudia Yaghoobi, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Shai Tamari,  Director of the Center of Middle East and Islamic Studies

Carolina Philosophy, Ethics, and Mental Health


Daniel Moseley, Psychiatry
Arlene Davis, Social Medicine
Eric Juengst, Social Medicine and Genetics

Carolina Seminar on Russia and Its Empires

The seminar brings together scholars interested in Russia and the Russian / Soviet space. Because Piedmont boasts a high concentration of interdisciplinary scholars in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern European Studies, including a large number of outstanding graduate students, this seminar gives the area’s universities and scholars the time and place to share their research as they are in the process of writing. Conducted basically as a workshop, it offers the particular benefit of giving participants the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries while they are still in the middle of their projects. In addition, one or two scholars from outside the region are invited to present work-in-progress that overlaps with that of area scholars.


Eren Tasar, UNC-CH, History

Carolina Seminar on Transnational and Global Modern History

Transnational and Global Modern History seminar is rooted in the comparative and connected study of the history of modern empires and its critics, “decolonization”, and the history of movement between and amongst various territorial entities in the modern era. It will explore the transnational study of the ideas and cultures that constituted and transcended national contexts, fashioning global political cultures and intellectual exchanges.


Cemil Aydin, History
Susan Pennybacker, History

Carolina Teaching and Learning Colloquium

The Carolina Teaching and Learning Colloquium is an interdisciplinary speaker series dedicated to the dissemination and discussion of evidence-based, actionable teaching and learning research. Using a two-part model, CTLC meetings will present classroom-focused research (e.g., retrieval practice, co-testing, technology & attention) followed by mediated discussions, providing attendees with empirically supported strategies to enhance their instructional models.


Steven G. Buzinski, Psychology and Neuroscience
Patrick Harrison, Psychology and Neuroscience
Doug James, Center for Faculty Excellence

Cartography, Chorography, and Literary Landscapes

This seminar provides a venue for interdisciplinary conversation relating to the theory and practice of cartography and landscape description in a range of historical contexts. Bringing together faculty and graduate students with different methodological perspectives – archaeological, philological, geographical, and historical – the seminar examines the history and potential of mapping as a process of giving shape to the world, especially in its multi-temporal dimensions. We are interested in the relationship between space and text in historical geographies, as well as in the relationship between historical cartographic and chorographic methodologies and their modern digital counterparts. The aim of the seminar is to foster faculty and graduate student research through the ongoing interdisciplinary exchange, particularly in connection with the Spatial Antiquities Lab, an emerging spatial humanities hub at UNC that will house vertically and horizontally integrated research projects that leverage digital mapping methods for historical projects.


Janet Downie, Classics
Time Shea, Classics
John Pickles, Geography
Javier Arce-Nazario, Geography

Central Asia Working Group

The Central Asia Working Group, an interdisciplinary work group seeks to build on growing interest across campus in the societies of Russian Central Asia–and neighboring regions such as Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Chinese Inner Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and southern Russia–from an interdisciplinary perspective. Its purpose is to provide a forum for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates at UNC, and in the surrounding area, to explore and stay abreast of new avenues of research in the study of Central Asia.


Eren Tasar, History
Waleed Ziad, Religious Studies
Rustin Zarkar, UNC Libraries
Erica Johnson, Global Studies

Collateral Effects on Healthcare During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The global pandemic is generating a great deal of reflection and analysis among scholars broadly interested in, the social, cultural, political and economic implications of the coronavirus disease and government responses to contain it. Our problem-based format seminar will consider these wide-ranging implications by engaging the collateral effects that the global pandemic has produced for healthcare systems globally.


Jocelyn Chua, Anthropology
Michele Rivkin-Fish, Anthropology
Barry Saunders, Social Medicine
Aalyia Sadruddin, Anthropology

Decolonization in the Global South

We investigate self-determination, territorial sovereignty, and mass politics in societies emerging from empires in the second half of the 20th century. Constrained by global capitalism and civil strife, independence struggles waged across the global south bequeathed an ambiguous legacy still with us today.


Christian C. Lentz, Geography
Townsend Middleton, Anthropology
Fadi Bardawil, Duke University

First Friday Microbiome Seminars: Microbiome Research Across Disciplines and Its Impact on Health and the Environment

The First Friday Microbiome Seminars connect microbiome researchers engaged in studies of complex microbial populations that are important to human and animal health and plant and environmental studies. Microbiome research feeds on diverse fields including microbiology, biology, engineering, and biomedical sciences.


M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease
Apoena Ribeiro, School of Dentistry

Focused Research Group in Network Representation Learning

Representation learning, and in particular graph representation, is one of the most important cross-disciplinary machine learning techniques to have emerged in the last five years with significant impact in a host of domain applications including computer science (natural language processing, text mining, social network analysis), neuroscience and psychology, proteomics, single-cell RNA-seq, cancer genomics, etc. The goal of this seminar is to start a focused research group in this area with the objective of fostering collaboration between methodology researchers and domain scientists with the short-term goals of joint research collaborations through papers and grant proposals and the longer goal of making UNC one of the world’s leading groups in the techniques and applications of one of the most important and topical areas of contemporary data science and machine learning.


Shankar Bhamidi, Statistics and Operations Research
Jessica Cohen, Psychology and Neuroscience
Eran Dayan, Radiology

Formal And Quantitative Seminar: FAQS

The seminar will focus on cutting-edge research in the fields of applied statistics, data science, and formal modeling in the social sciences. Formal modeling offers rigorous tools to study the implications of strategic interactions between actors, generating testable insights that are grounded in formal logic. These insights span a wide range of substantive areas, including labor market discrimination, international relations (e.g., wars and sanctions), optimal environmental treaties, political polarization, and social movements. Critically, formal modeling can inform a more principled use of data, which, in turn, can validate or falsify the formal models. This symbiotic relationship underlies the dual emphasis of the seminar on formal theory and quantitative methods. Talks that focus on statistical developments offer participants a window into newly developed probabilistic models and experimental designs tailored to address questions in the social sciences — from generalizing survey data to a population of interest to address issues of data missing not-at-random. By focusing on methods and models, in addition to substantive areas, the seminar will have a broad appeal, offering relevant content for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and other scholars, across disciplines in the social sciences. In the past, our speakers have drawn audiences from Economics, Bio-statistics, Political Science, Sociology, and Public Policy.


Mehdi Shadmehr, Public Policy
Santiago Olivella, Political Science

French History and Culture

This seminar hosts lively discussions of new scholarship in all areas of French history, culture, literary studies, and art history, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research. Topics of recent and/or frequent discussion include French social movements and their legacies, the French empire, and French-American intellectual exchanges, among other subjects.


Ellen Welch,  Romance Studies
Michael Garval, NC State University

Health Humanities Grand Rounds

Health Humanities Grand Rounds is a speaker series that features exceptional interdisciplinary research from Carolina and beyond. Speakers give problem-based talks and lead discussions about their research with an audience of faculty and students from across departments and divisions. HHGR has become a touchstone of health humanities collaborations at UNC.


Kym Weed, English and Comparative Literature
Jane F. Thraikill, English and Comparative Literature
Amy Weil, School of Medicine

Higher Ed Working Group

The Higher Ed Working Group will consider challenges currently facing colleges and universities. We will focus on issues of access and success, the growing disconnection between universities and the public at large, and the nature of regulation by university governing bodies.


William Snider, UNC Neuroscience Center
Buck Goldstein, School of Education
Suzanne Barbour, Biochemistry & Biophysics
Tori Ekstrand, School of Journalism
Eric Johnson, UNC System Office

If, Then: Computation and Poetics

This seminar brings together a diverse group of faculty, staff, and graduate students for regular meetings to understand and engage the potential and practice of analyzing texts using natural language processing for inquiry, research, and teaching in the humanities and social sciences.


Daniel Anderson, English & Comparative Literature

Carly Schnitzler, English & Comparative Literature

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, UMass Boston University

Labor and Working-Class History

This seminar primarily focuses upon the history of working-class people in the Americas. More specifically, it examines the changing nature of work in relation to the economy and state policy; class, race, gender, sexuality, and cultural formations among workers; and efforts to organize unions and other class-based social movements.


Erik Gellman, History
Katherine Turk, History
Nancy MacLean, Duke University



Ehssan Nazockdast, Applied Physical Sciences
Amy Maddox, Biology

Membrane Trafficking: From Mechanism to Disease

Membrane trafficking is a basic biological process that underlies the complex internal membrane architecture that is a hallmark of eukaryotic cell biology. This area has received renewed focus in recent years as it is becoming clearer that dysregulation of membrane trafficking is linked to diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration. However, understanding the etiology of diseases linked to membrane processes is a monumental task, requiring an understanding of the biophysics of lipid bilayers, the mechanism of proteins that bend and shape membranes, and the systems-level networks that regulate the exchange of vesicles between a dozen or more distinct cellular compartments. As such, there is a dire need for an interdisciplinary effort to tackle this important question in cell biology. The proposed Carolina Seminar series, titled “Membrane Trafficking: from Mechanism to Disease”, is an effort to bring together scientists across campus and from diverse fields, but with a focus on interfacial processes at membranes. The co-organizers represent a diverse set of research interests and technical expertise. The Baker lab uses biophysical and structural techniques to understand the allosteric consequences of membrane binding by peripheral membrane proteins. The Gladfelter lab uses state-of-the-art imaging to study membrane curvature sensation and membrane-less organelles. The Bear lab studies actin-based motility and its role in the onset and progression of cancer. More broadly, there is a vibrant research community at UNC focusing on membrane-based processes, from theoretical modeling of lipid bilayers to proteomics and systems biology of mitochondrial diseases. We aim to bring these scientists together to stimulate conversations around the biggest and most important questions in the field of membrane biology and membrane trafficking. In particular, we aim to connect those studying basic mechanisms of membrane biology in silico and in vitro, with those who have a more direct focus on human disease.


Rick Baker, Biochemistry & Biophysics
Jim Bear, Cell Biology & Physiology
Amy Gladfelter, Biology

Minority Aging Collaborative Initiative (MACI)

Minority Aging Collaborative Initiative (MACI) takes a progressive stance to acknowledge and addressing the needs of older minority adults. Aimed at building networks, fostering collaborations, and advocating for solutions/change, MACI convenes like-minded scholars, students, trainees, faculty, staff, and community members interested in building a consortium through advocacy, research, education, and community engagement. Promoting the goal and aims of this seminar, we are providing a platform that dispels ageist and racist attitudes, while organizing a collaborative movement that embraces the diversity of our aging population


Tamara Baker, Psychiatry
Cherie Rosemond, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Moral Economies of Medicine Working Group

The pursuit of the Moral Economies of Medicine is to investigate the problem of how to create new, critical conversations about global health that may bridge the liberal arts-professional divide both in terms of scholarship and pedagogy.


Jocelyn Chua, Anthropology
Michele Rivkin-Fish, Anthropology
Aalyia Sadruddin, Anthropology
Barry Saunders, Social Medicine

NC German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS)

The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS) was started in 2007 by an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional group of scholars in the Research Triangle of North Carolina because the state of North Carolina possesses an incredibly rich and impressive roster of scholars working in German Studies and Central European History. It is home to nationally and internationally recognized graduate programs in these fields. Its colleges and universities have incredibly successful undergraduate programs responsible for producing highly proficient speakers and thinkers of Germanic languages, histories, and cultures. In order to strengthen the bonds between all these precious assets, the North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series seeks to foster interdisciplinary and inter-institutional intellectual exchange about new and innovative research among students, scholars, and the wider community at both public and private institutions of higher learning.



Karen Hagemann, History
Konrad Jarausch, History
Priscilla Layne, Germanic and Slavic LL
A. Dirk Moses, History
Terence V. McIntosh, History
Jakob Norberg, Duke University
Andrea Sinn, Elon University
Teresa Walch, UNC-Greensboro

North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar

The North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar offers a stimulating and exciting forum for academic engagement on Jewish history, culture, and religion.   Since its inception in 2001 under the name Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar, the seminar has brought together faculty, graduate students, and internationally renowned scholars to discuss cutting-edge work in Jewish Studies.  Meetings are held monthly, and papers are distributed in advance for all to read.  The Seminar is a collaborative partnership of Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest, with participants coming from universities and colleges across North Carolina.  Closely coordinated with the NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill public lecture series in Jewish Studies, the seminar enriches the scholarly climate in the area and strengthens the Jewish Studies programs in the local universities.


Ruth von Bernuth, Germanic Languages
Malachi Hacohen, Duke University
Verena Kasper-Marienberg, NC State University

Religion and Theory Reading Group

This group brings together area faculty, graduate students, visiting scholars, and others to discuss important new texts in religious studies and recent critical theory. It aims to foster multidisciplinary and critical engagement with the role of religion in contemporary cultural politics.


Randall Styers, Religious Studies

Jessica Boon, Religious Studies


Resilience and Leadership Skills through Sports for Minorities: A Virtual Reality Experience


Ivonne Chirino-Klevans, Kenan Flager Business School

Southeast Asian Approaches

Situated between China and India, Southeast Asia sits at a crossroads of ancient and ongoing global commerce, cultural flows, and political influences. Via informal conversations, a speaker series, and cultural events, this seminar aims to lend visibility to the importance and interdisciplinary of Southeast Asian studies.


Krupal Amin, Asian American Center
Lorraine Aragon, Anthropology
Becky Butler, Linguistics; Carolina Asia Center
Kevin Fogg, Carolina Asia Center
Angel Hsu, Public Policy
Noah Kittner, Public Health
Holning Lau, Law
Christian Lentz, Geography
Margaret Weiner, Anthropology

Towards a Liberatory “Global”: Building Anti-Racist, Feminist, and Decolonial Understanding of the Global

Can there be a concept of globality that is anti-racist, decolonized and decolonizing, and feminist? Or, is the global too linked to patriarchal, colonial, and Eurocentric epistemic and institutional histories and assumptions to ever be liberatory? In the recent scholarship on racism, the concept of the global has received significant critical attention and scholars have analyzed white supremacy as a global system of domination. Critical race scholar, Dylan Rodriguez, in his book White Supremacy (2017), has put this very bluntly, arguing that “The Global is very much a racialized concept, as are many of the imaginaries that underpin and go with them.” Rodriguez does not only argue that the global is a racialized concept but also approaches white supremacy as “a global sociopolitical imagination and changing historical apparatus of human dominance.” Decolonial scholars, such as Arturo Escobar, have called for understanding global coloniality today while leading scholarship to move away from Eurocentrism and singular, universal ideas of global design. Instead, decolonial thought recognizes a plurality of perspectives and ontologies and foregrounds marginalized/subalternized subjects and spaces, including indigenous communities. Earlier, feminist scholar Carla Freeman (2001) has shown how the global is often associated with the masculine while the local with feminine, thereby reinforcing gendered inequalities in labor relations and material livelihoods, as well as impacting how we study globalization. These important critiques underline the urgent need to rethink the global from anti-racist, feminist, and decolonial perspectives and to analyze how white supremacy, sexism, and colonialism shape international or global institutions, practices, and concepts and how the interlinked structures and processes of globalization depend on, reproduce, and deepen racism, sexism, and other colonial systems of difference. Such an engagement with the global is necessary not only for building this critical understanding but also for reclaiming its liberatory potential for drawing linkages between seemingly distant and distinct places and movements and supporting the work of building solidarity across the world. This Carolina Seminar is structured around the problem of the global as a racialized, masculinist, and colonial concept and asks both if and how the global can be decolonized and rethought as a liberatory concept. We aim to produce an understanding of racism, sexism, and colonialism globally while training faculty and students to recognize the markers of Eurocentrism, white supremacy, and patriarchy in certain core tenets and methodologies of the interdisciplinary scholarship on globalization and global issues. Our goal is to collectively build anti-racist, decolonial, and feminist knowledge of the global that will reshape how we do our research, how we work interdisciplinary as well as how and what we teach. We propose to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between faculty and graduate students from different disciplines, including Geography, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies for rethinking the global as an anti-racist, feminist, and decolonial concept and perspective.


Banu Gokariksel, Geography,
Angela Stuesse, Anthropology
Michal Osterweil, Global Studies
Yousuf Al-Bulushi, University of California – Irvine

The Perils and Promise of Capitalism in the 21st Century

This seminar is devoted to analyzing the present state of capitalism in the U.S. and other parts of the world, and to attempt to come up with viable ways to improve its performance in terms of justice and equity.


Peter Coclanis, History
Arne Kalleberg, Sociology

Transformative Pedagogy in Times of Crisis

The seminar will look at the uses of contemplative and embodied practices with a focus on their intersection with social change and social justice education. The goal is both to expose faculty and students to these practices and to explore and interrogate their role in higher education, particularly in times of crisis (like Covid-19).


Michal Osterweil, Curriculum in Global Studies
Michele Berger, Women’s and Gender Studies

Triangle Early American History Seminar (TEAHS)

This seminar is a group of early American historians from multiple North Carolina colleges and universities who meet to discuss pre-circulated papers. The Triangle Early American History seminar is on the cutting edge of early American History scholarship. The group pushes the geographic boundaries of the field to include regions far beyond the original United States, spanning both North America and Latin America, recognizing that early modern peoples saw the region as overlapping localities. Major themes include race, gender, and empire.


Kathleen DuVal, UNC-CH, History

Megan Cherry, NC State University

Juliana Barr, Duke University

Triangle Health Economics Workshop

The Triangle Health Economics Workshop (THEW) is a multi-departmental seminar series organized by faculty in the Departments of Health Policy and Management, Economics, and Public Policy at UNC. Held approximately bi-weekly during the academic year, the seminar brings together health economists from across the Triangle to discuss current research by invited speakers in economics, medicine, and public health.

website: http://thew.web.unc.edu/


Justin Trogdon, Health Policy and Management
Donna Gilleskie, Economics

Triangle Intellectual History

The Triangle Intellectual History Seminar brings together the Triangle area’s exceptional concentration of historians who practice intellectual history or who work in closely related fields such as literature and the history of science. This seminar focuses on new trends in global intellectual history, discusses papers by graduate students as well as area faculty colleagues, and invites guest presenters from outside North Carolina. Participants offer diverse perspectives on innovative works in progress and explore the connections between social contexts and ideas.


Lloyd Kramer, History
Dirk Moses, History
Susan Pennybacker, History
James Chappel, Duke University
Nimi Bassiri, Duke University
Malachi Hacohen, Duke University
Anthony LaVopa, North Carolina State University
Noah Strote, North Carolina State University
Steven Vincent, North Carolina State University
David Weinstein, Wake Forest University

UNC Criminal Justice and Health Working Group

The Criminal Justice and Health Working Group (CJHWG) engages a wide range of topics at the intersection of the criminal justice system and health. Our membership includes faculty, staff, and students from multiple disciplines, departments, and institutions as well as participants from the surrounding community. Most seminars feature a research presentation followed by a group discussion. We also promote networking and collaboration on criminal justice/health-focused research projects.


David Rosen, School of Medicine; Gillings School of Global Public Health

UNC-Duke Global Mental Health Seminar: In Search of the Social Cure

The SARS Cov-2 pandemic (Covid) has reframed our relationship to work, education, family life, and public health. In addition to the 5 million lives lost, Covid has taken a monumental toll on emotional wellbeing and daily functioning around the globe. The US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, says our country is experiencing an “epidemic of loneliness” (Murthy, 2020). In the US, health workers are reporting unprecedented levels of burnout (Wiesman & Baker, 2022). Young people report high rates of depressive symptoms (Benton et al., 2021), a factor only worsened by isolation induced by Covid restrictions (Jones et al., 2021). Suicidality is at its highest level since World War 2 (Garnett MF et al., 2022) and death by opioid overdose has doubled in the past two years (CDC, 2022). Yet, this historical moment could also help us craft new ways of building health and society. We could use this as a wake-up call to remind us that social connection is intrinsic to being human. Indeed, the field of global mental health has long acknowledged that common mental disorders are as much a symptom of social isolation as they are neurobiology. In low- and middle-income settings (LMIC), mental health care looks rather different from how we tend to view it in the US. We think about therapy as individual sessions, in a quiet room, with highly-trained providers. Or, more often, we imagine starting pricey prescription medication and hoping our co-payments aren’t intolerable. Newer models in LMIC are gaining traction and an evidence-based. Group-based therapy under a tree helps war-torn areas heal. Community health workers squeeze in sessions to capture dead time while a patient waits in a clinic queue. Women Peers or neighborhood grandmothers sit down for informal chats on benches. Families who have left their homes to escape civil conflict share a series of meals with a community facilitator, who offers skills for how to cope together. These are all examples our convening team has worked on for the past two decades. We have learned vividly how in moments of constrained resources, our colleagues have identified new ways of working that are less costly and have promising results. We aim to frame this seminar series around the idea of “reciprocal innovation” – the notion that LMIC and US research partnerships can jointly address health challenges arising in both settings (Sors et al., 2022). We aim to uncover innovative, sustainable solutions and frame a discussion about how these might apply to underserved North Carolina communities. This seminar will bridge interdisciplinary boundaries of psychology, sociology, epidemiology, neuroscience, and implementation science. It will enrich the academic discourse around post-Covid strategies in ways that will improve North Carolina but also deepen existing global connections in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.


Abigail Hatcher, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Joanna (Asia) Maselko, Epidemiology

Eve Puffer, Duke University; Duke Global Health Institute

Working Group in Feminism and History

This seminar includes historians based at Triangle universities who meet to discuss gender-related topics that cut across regional and temporal specializations.


Kathleen DuVal, History

Lisa Lindsay, History

Katherine Turk, History

Jocelyn Olcott, Duke University